Retirement Age Hike Undone for Thousands of Workers

Deal pertains to private-sector workers who accepted early retirement under old pension arrangement

Partially reversing a reform that had dismayed many elderly, the Finance Ministry has restored the original retirement age for thousands of private-sector workers. The eligible men will retire at 65 instead of 67, and women at 60 instead of 62.

The decision was part of an agreement signed on Friday between Dorit Tene-Perchik of the Histadrut, and Finance Ministry director general Joseph Bachar.

The road to the agreement, which is a victory for the Histadrut, began in 1999: Telrad laid off a group of employees who had begun working there in the 1970s.

Telrad was to pay the 52-year-old workers a heightened pension for ten years but would not pay them for the following three years until they reached the age of 65, the official retirement age at the time. Thereafter, they would receive their regular pensions.

However, former Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2003 raised the retirement age to 67 for men and 64 for women, leaving the 500 ex-workers out in the cold for another two to four years.

One former worker, Moshe Heled, and five colleagues launched a public crusade with the support of the Histadrut. The new deal reached over the weekend pertains to all workers, not only those at Telrad, who took early retirement.